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the world if we make good policy decisions. since the election, i saw many of you, we have made some progress on some fronts. that there is actually a bipartisan commitment, at least in the senate, to potentially overhaul our immigration system. so we can continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world. having terrific conversations around issues like cybersecurity and how we make and that people's privacy civil liberties are protected, but how we also protect our critical for structures. we make sure that the power of the internet is not used for ill as well as good. we have seen some progress after the heartbreaking tragedy of newtown, where people finally say, we can do something about
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gun violence in a way that is respectful of the second amendment, but insists that most societies should tolerate our children being gunned down. on the streets, or in the classroom. when it comes to issues of the budget, we have made progress in making sure that those at the very top of our paying -- very sharee paying a greater of what is required to run a funds basic research. we have seen some progress. i laid out in the inauguration and the state of the union, a vision that does not require massive expansion of government. but does require us to do certain things that we cannot do as well by ourselves. whether it is providing early childhood education, investing
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in infrastructure so that our businesses can move goods and services more rapidly around the world. is continuing to expand our manufacturing base and encouraging in sourcing, not just outsourcing. that we continue to be at the cutting edge of science and technology and research. we are going to choose an energy future that does not just look at the energy source of the past, but looks at the sources of tomorrow and addresses clement change in a serious way. -- climate change in a serious way. i had a little more have in my step in the and nine duration -- in the cannot duration. it was not because i was off the campaign trail, nothing
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energizes me like interacting with the american people, but if we can get it implemented, this would really allow americans to take off. our economy is recovering. it is resilient. it is not yet where it needs to be. we have millions of people still out of work or underemployed. we still have businesses that could be thriving if we are able to ensure that washington does not engage in self-induced crisis. we have a lot of work to do. let's face it, there are still a lot of divisions and arguments here in washington. ouralthough we are doing best to reach out to the other side, there is a genuine desire and the part of republicans and democrats to try and get something done, i think there is a weariness among membership in
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the senate and house about this , day in and day out of argument and crises instead of productivity and movement forward. the politics of these issues are tough. , sometimes they are scared about making the right decisions. they are particularly scared because they are subject to pressure from special interest groups and well-financed organizations that may be pushing in a different direction. i think the idea here, the we have 20 that million people who got involved in the campaign, or close to it. 4 million people who actively contributed to the campaign in five dollar and $10 increments.
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a sizable portion of those just wanted dinner with george clooney. [laughter] i think a large number of them believed in our vision, as well. part of what jim and john and i have spoken about is just how do we make sure that people stay involved. had we make sure all those neighborhood groups are engaged , feel a sense of connection. we did not do as good a job in 2008 as i would've hoped in making sure they still felt a part of the process. it is not just a matter of lobbying congress. it is a matter of them taking ownership so that, if we are setting up health care exchanges in their states, maybe they want to contact some friends or neighbors who don't have health care and say, here is something that might help you. if we got a disaster like we had that communitys
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built in that allows us to go out and immediately help the relief efforts? an we sustain and maintain sense of citizenship that arose during the course of the campaign outside of a campaign structure? ,utside of the immediate, ok we are trying to win this many votes in this many states. can we activate people around an agenda? i think you're in washington -- here in washington, this idea has been viewed with some suspicion and people have been puzzled about what it is that we are trying to do. the usual idea is, this must just be a mechanism to try and win the next election in 2014. what we have tried to bind to people is, i actually just want
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to govern. at least for a couple of years. [laughter] but i also want to make sure that the voices of ordinary people are heard in the debates that will be taking place. if you have a senator or in a swing district who is prepared to take a tough vote, what they consider to be a tough vote, on immigration reform, or legislation around ick rent checks for guns, want to make sure they feel supported. that they know there are constituents of theirs that agree with them. even if there may be a lot of pushback in that district. on anmove aggressively --ue like climate change that is not an easy issue for a
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lot of folks. the benefits may be out in the future. i want to make sure that a congressman, senator, feels as if they have got the information network thatroots will support them. that, more than anything, is what inspired this idea. what we want is to make sure that the voices of the people who put me here continue to be heard. that they are not just her during election time. that they are not just heard in terms of dollar solicitations. orare helping to build sustain a network of citizens in the mostoice critical debates that will be taking place over the next year, year and a half. if it works, potentially beyond. why is part of the reason
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i am excited about this. and why i am so grateful that all of you are participating. one of the things i am proudest twouring the course of campaigns where we raised an awful lot of money, is that the people who got involved did not ask me for stuff. except to be true to my vision and true to our agenda. a bunchof you represent of true believers who got involved and are still here after all the ups and downs of the campaign. downs inl be ups and terms of governing, as well. if we do it well, and i am confident that we can move strong immigration legislation through congress. i'm confident we can get common sense gun safety legislation through congress. i am confident that we can craft a budget that is responsible
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and reduces our deficit but also make sure that we are investing in those things we need to grow and our asic social safety net is preserved. basic social safety net is preserved. i can do it by myself. i will close with this -- at one point in the campaign, i was asked about gridlock in washington. i said, one of the lessons i learned my first four years is is that you can't change washington from the inside. and some people took that as saying, obama has given up -- no. that is what i have always claimed. i have always said that i am representing people and that change comes about because people are activated him a people are involved. the agenda and determine the framework for debate. ofple let their members
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congress know what it is they believe. when those voices are heard, you can't stop it. that is when change happens. ist was true back in 2008 just as true today. what we don't want to do is , that ihe mistake believe we made in 2008, were some of that energy dissipated. playing an inside game, and i am sitting in a room with a bunch of folks negotiating all the time. those voices are no longer heard. ,ver the last several weeks the present washington has been reporting about obama's charm offensive. the truth is, all i have been doing is calling up folks and trying to see if we can break through some of the gobbledygook of our politics here. , at thisbelieve that
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juncture, one of the things i believe is that we have got to get members of congress involved. not just leadership. because i think a lot of them the as if they don't have opportunity to break out of some of those artists and gridlock. -- partisan deadlock. they don't like getting too far ahead of the leadership. we are reaching out to these individual members so that they create a space where things can get done. the same principle applies doubly might comes to the american people. the only idea here that we are promoting his the notion that if the american people are speaking , thatrganized, activated
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make it space here in washington to do the kind of work, hopefully bipartisan work am a add is required. , i will to do that need your help. i used to say that being friends with a politician is like perpetually having a kid in college. you are writing checks all the time and it doesn't seem like the cadaver graduate. i graduated. [laughter] i run my last campaign. but we are not done with the in theat led me to run first place. i am hopeful that with your continued ideas and support, your voices, that we can continue to make progress of the next several years. thank you very much, everybody. [applause] >> now a discussion on how advocacy groups are shifting their attention from winning elections to influencing policy and legislation. journal" thison
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is about 45 minutes. --joining us right now, all bob edgar. >> great to be with you. ?ommon cause, what is it john was started by gardner, a moderate republican who felt that everybody had special interest representing we had aashington bipartisan organization trying to hold power accountable. they did a lot of work on public financing and redistricting and lobbying reform. >> we brought you want to talk about the influence of donors upon white house agenda. particularly, a new group that was formed, organizing for action. presidentiallast
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election, president obama took all of the apparatus, all the e- mails, all the names and addresses of donors and put them into an organization called organizing for action. in the los angeles times in the new york times came out with a report that the president was asking his top donors to bundle $500,000. if they did that, they would be put on an advisory committee. cause believes that is the wrong way to go. we want to push back on citizens united. we believe money is important and that money can stifle speech. we believe the invention of superpacs and the explosion of money -- we wanted the president to stand up for reform. the people surrounding the president say he needs this secular organization with high donors getting access to work on immigration and on gun issues.
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we said, mr. president, we want you to lead on reform. you are the first president not to take a presidential public financing system in 2008 that every other candidate had taken since watergate. i got elected to the united states congress by accident in 1974. i was a chaplain in drexel university in philadelphia. when richard nixon fired rod? -- fired archibald cox after watergate and the country was in trauma, it was in trouble because of money putting the system.
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congress put in place a system of public financing so that a president would not have to do what obamas did, which was spent 300 days or 400 days in his last presidential campaign raising money for his reelection, raising $1 billion. we want the president to say, rather than disarming, i want to lead. we want the president to lead on reforming the system, fix the presidential public financing system, do what he did at the state of the union where he pushed back on the supreme court and said, we should have full disclosure. host: disclosure was the story for organizing for action. there were changes to that stance. can you describe what the organization did? guest: yes. was helpful for some of the government groups to push back on the administration. they just had a meeting this week where, rather than having $500,000 donors, they said they were going to have a scale of donors.
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i think they were talking $50,000 and less. we still think there is a long way to go. the new york times has already editorialize and said, mr. president, your organization made a baby step back in the right direction. common cause believes they should start over. if the president wants to use this apparatus, use it to build a grass-roots organization. timothy amounts of money given. there are no limits on individual contributions. if i had been in that position, i would have said to the president, let's put a limit of $100 and let's have everybody give contributions. i want to set a legacy for the next president. why should the next president have to spend all that time raising money?
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ronald reagan did not spend much time raising money. he had lots of donors, but he used the public financing system that was put in place as a reform. host: our guest is bob edgar of common cause. we are talking about the white house agenda. this is a discussion that came from the formation of the group, organizing for action. if you want to call, 202-737- 0002 for democrats, 202-737-0002 for republicans and 202-628-0205 for independents. there was a dinner on wednesday night. [video clip]
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>> we want to make sure the voices of the people put me here continue to be heard, that they are not just heard during election time, that they are not just hurt in terms of dollars solicitations, that we are helping to build or sustain a network of citizens who have a voice in the most critical base that will be taking place over the next year and year-and-a- half. if it works -- that is part of the reason i am excited about this and why i am is so grateful all of you are participating. one of the things i am proudest of given the course of the two campaigns where we raise an awful lot of money is that the people got involved did not ask me for stuff except to be true to my vision and to our agenda. all of you represent a bunch of
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true believers who got involved and are still here after all the ups and downs of the campaign. host: mr. edgar. guest: he made an interesting speech, but i have to push back on his comments. he said the people gave him the large donations did not ask for anything. they gave -- they asked for access. organizing for action was described as an opportunity for giving super wealthy donors access to the white house. that is like the selling of the lincoln bedroom without the sheets. the president could have used that speech in a positive way and said, we did a great job. we won the election. a good portion of our contributions are from small donors. let's make this about average, ordinary people.
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bill moyers said this is the most dangerous moment in american history for democracy. we are either going to be a nation of, by, and for the people, or of and by the wealthy. corporations were the ones who did not care about their brand identity. the corporations that care about what people think simply have their executives make large contributions. we would like to see us move to a system where there is voluntary public financing, especially at the presidential level. senator mccain were tired from the period to put in place the financing system. president obama should put his arms around senator mccain and talk about how we restore the dignity of democracy.
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how do we put the principles that in place so that the next president does not have to raise $2 billion on the next democratic candidate has to spend all of the campaign time raising money. mr. romney, when he was running, and he got caught with a tape inside a private setting where people had to give a certain amount of dollars. why shouldn't the candidates have been spending all their time talking to the voters, speaking to issues. they were spending all their time trying to appeal to wealthy donors. he president said they did not ask for anything. that is hard to believe. the federal communications system is broken. the federal communication commission needs to be reformed.
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i have to believe a lot of television and radio owners love the facts that every four years, much of the billions of dollars spent on campaigns is plowed into television and radio. host: talk about the framework of organizing for action when it comes to is leadership. its board chairman is jim messina, who had a role in the campaign. you see other connections as well. is that a problem for you? guest: it is not too much of a problem. jim is an ok job -- ok guy. they should have named this organizing for a perpetual campaign. i do not think they wanted to give this apparatus to the democratic party because it bungled it after the 2008 election. they tweeted it as a superpac rather than tweeting it as an organization focus on reform and to protect democracy rather than
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a political arm of the white house. host: ed is up first on our democratic line. caller: we have missed the point. the previous election was funded by the republican party by millionaires and billionaires. i want to drop this load on the most vulnerable. what is happening is that we had an election. what is going on continuously? you are driving the same message over and over again that the president is driving and asking people to give stuff.
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i am a pc scientists. i am not asking the president for the would enjoy a ph.d. -- i am a ph.d. scientist. i am not asking the president for anything. guest: let me be clear. i like president obama. he has done some enormously important things. the health care legislation is important. it would have been stronger if we did not have the filibuster. it would have been stronger if republicans and democrats could have forth together to craft the legislation. my best friends were republicans and nothing happened because one party putting in place. our concern is trying to get the president's attention on the issue of the optics of this organization he is putting together.
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we want to do exactly what you are talking about. we want to get democracy really focused on average, ordinary citizens. because of the 5-4 decision of the supreme court that lifted the lid off of money in politics, we have seen an explosion of money. now that the president has been successful in winning reelection, we want him to be successful in leading deform efforts. on -- successful in leading reform efforts. the election process itself is broken and needs to be prepared. people are still standing in lines to vote. let's fix that. i have some crazy ideas that we have had these controversies about registration. i have a four month old grandson. why shouldn't every child born
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in the united states the register to vote at birth? he already has a social security number. what more do we need? let's give them the same ceremony we give to immigrants a flag, a constitution, and a certificate for their first vote. let's get the number of people take up to 90%. all of the screen supporters of the president talking not just about immigration, not just about his set of priorities for energy, but about reform. he can set the legacy for democracy. here is a question for all of us. where are the founding fathers and mothers of democracy for the next 100 years? how do we get young people to see public service as a part of their lives. how do we encourage them to see
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that money is not corroding the system and that the person with the most money and the largest check book are the people who get the most access? i will say just this to your question. when i served in congress, money was important. there were limits on how someone could get. there was full disclosure. i got elected at age 31, one year after i loved the word democratic up in the telephone book because of watergate. for the first year, the special interest groups did not come with their checkbooks. they came with their talking points. liberals, conservatives, independents talked about issues. they went and tried to defeat me time and time again in the district came from. my friends were the ones who corrupted me a file was corrupted. they said, bob, your the first thing -- best thing since sliced bread. they got my picture and put it on the front page of their newsletters.
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after the election, my friends came back and said, without us he would not have won by 50.0% of the vote. here are a list of 10 more issues.
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FCC Oversight Hearing
CSPAN March 17, 2013 2:30am-5:00am EDT

Series/Special. The TMobile-MetroPCS merger; spectrum auctions. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Washington 8, Us 5, Mccain 2, Obama 2, United 2, Bob Edgar 2, New York 2, Utside 1, Gardner 1, Richard Nixon 1, George Clooney 1, Thison 1, Cybersecurity 1, Obamas 1, United States Congress 1, Clement 1, Tweeted 1, Mr. Romney 1, Los Angeles 1, Thatrganized 1
Network CSPAN
Duration 02:30:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 17 (141 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

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on 3/17/2013